There are countless reasons to maintain a high quality of the air that you and your family breathe at home. Besides affecting everybody's general well-being and even their mood, a polluted environment might cause more severe troubles, such as allergies, skin conditions and stuffy nose. Fortunately, you have all the power to cope with poor air quality, and it won't cost you lots of time or money. Here are the best ways to ensure yourself a breath of fresh air.
Leave the shoes at the door
If you frequently wear shoes indoors, then the floors of your home are covered with everything that you can find outdoors. The list is as extensive as someone’s imagination. For once, we have the usual things – dust, dust mites, mud, grass, gravel, various small bugs – both dead and alive.
We have some even nastier things, like animal excrement, tar and various oils (especially if you drive a car often). Another thing that often gets on shoes and can be brought inside quickly is multiple toxins, such as if a lawn or park you walk through has been treated with something chemical. Alternatively, if you live near an asphalt road, they often seal them with coal tar, not something you want inside your home. Besides, the outsoles’ patterns that help with the grip also allow us to carry dirt from very distant places.
It may be convenient to walk with your shoes around the house. Still, in the long run, it will lead to more dust everywhere around the house, strange unexplainable stains on the floors and furniture, and the quality of the indoor air will decrease significantly. You’ll have to clean much more often if you want to keep impeccable hygiene in the house.
Regularly dust and mop
Mould is among the significant reasons for compromised air quality. There is more than one thing you can do to fight mould, and the most important of all is to wipe down sensitive surfaces every time you do the cleaning. Don't forget vacuuming first and then mopping for all the floors. Moreover, make sure you fix any leaking pipes you might have in the walls or other areas of your home, as increased humidity is the number one culprit that contributes to mould development. Lack of proper ventilation plays a role, too.
Now that we mentioned air ventilation, you have to also think about your HVAC system’s hygiene level. If you haven't checked what happens inside the ducts for a long time, perhaps you'll be unpleasantly surprised by a good collection of dust, debris, pet hair and other tiny particles. If you don't have the time or the right equipment to handle duct contamination, you'd better call some of the professional cleaners. Experts have all the expertise needed to leave your ventilation system in a condition that doesn't spoil indoor air.
Be careful during renovations
Many of the most dangerous air pollutants come to our homes through our furniture and the building and decoration materials we choose. Checking your furniture’s origin is important because it may be made using toxic glues, which contain dangerous chemicals. Finishing products like varnishes and lacquers can also cause problems with people who suffer from asthma and allergies. Except for poisonous glues, you also need to look out for furniture that’s been treated with formaldehyde. It’s a common and unhealthy practice. It also applies to any paints and spray-on products we use to renovate and decorate our homes. They can release dangerous fumes, which can make you feel faint and dizzy. When you’re doing renovations, look for products that have the “fume-free” or “Low VOC” labels on them, this will limit your exposure to toxins. And take any spray-painting spring projects outdoors.
Avoid strong smells in your home
Another common way air pollution lurks into our homes is through the strong smells we introduce in our homes. The common culprits here are the potent and pleasantly fragrant cleaning products we use, as well as the refreshing air sprays and all the other misleadingly fresh products we use. When you’re looking for cleaning and hygiene products, look for fragrance-free ones, including for your laundry, kitchen and bathroom cleaners. You can also look into eco-friendly cleaning alternatives; the fragrances there are always natural. Get rid of any aerosol sprays because they also release harmful chemicals into the air. Fortunately, everything has non-aerosol versions nowadays, including deodorants, hair sprays and air fresheners.
Smoking indoors is also a huge problem for indoor air quality because cigarette smoke irritates the lungs significantly, even if you’re only a passive smoker. Don’t allow your guests to smoke indoors as well because the smoke lingers for days and soaks into curtains and upholstered furniture. Moreover, let’s not even start with all the health implications smoking can cause.
Add plants to your home
Unbelievably, many of the plants you can grow inside your home are lovely air purifiers. In general, any kind of greenery is beneficial for keeping the air fresh. Still, bamboo, spider plants, dracaena and weeping fig are the optimal choice if you want to achieve outstanding results. Scientists say that they boost creativity and a good mood while absorbing toxins and making your blood pressure peak lower.
Implement more products that are natural
We unconsciously surround ourselves with all kinds of chemicals in our strive to make our homes clean and sanitary. All these things leave their footprint in the air, making it unhealthy and irritating. By replacing a few products in our house, we can quickly decrease the risk for our families. For instance, beeswax candles are a lot healthier than paraffin ones. Besides, when it comes to cleaning products, you can easily replace the store-bought ones with some natural recipes containing baking soda, white vinegar and lemon juice. The lemon provides a pleasant smell, while the soda and the vinegar can remove even old and stuck on grease from ovens and stoves.
Pets in the home
If a cat or a dog is living with you, be sure to brush off its fur when coming back home from a walk. Domestic pets are the perfect carriers of a plethora of parasites and allergens, but an antibacterial cloth can remove the majority of those. Even if your dog has been in the backyard just for a few minutes – that could be the reason for excessive dust or dirt floating in the room.
Written by Jane Wilson
About the Author
Jane Wilson is a mother, blogger and marketing executive living in Melbourne. She works for the local branch of Fantastic Cleaners, a licensed cleaning company that provides a broad range of services. She also owns a small lifestyle blog called Modern Housewives, where she shares all kinds of home improvement and parenting tips.
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